My counter tops aren’t stripped bare; I don’t have a cupboard full of matching glass containers with chalkboard paint labels, or wooden scrubbing brushes, or bamboo travel utensils, or matching produce bags/tea towels made from organic cotton.
Phew. That feels good.
Go ahead, take a moment to view me as some kind of zero waste fraud, I’ll wait for you.
OK? On we march.
You see my version of reduced waste doesn’t mean buying a tonne of new stuff. That really defeats the object for me. If there’s something we need then yes I’ll buy it but nine times out of ten, we already have something that will do the job (or can certainly buy it preloved)
Zero waste can seem so stylised, all those lovely instagram photos of bright, clean, softly lit counter tops with a single white linen cloth and a smoothie/coffee/ice cream/berries in the obligatory mason jar. They are lovely to look at but make reducing waste look expensive and unattainable.
Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful photos, I wish I had even one space in my house that was this “photo ready” even once a week but, the reality is; I have a toddler, and I’m not rocking the kind of disposable income that can support that kind of zero waste lifestyle.
I suppose on the zero waste spectrum I fall firmly into frugal side of things, I rarely buy new, I do not buy single task objects and I love to make do and mend. Reducing household waste was an absolute by-product of my frugality; it began with CSP, kitchen towels, handkerchiefs and bar soap. I do it to save money, manage a budget and then to reduce my impact on the planet.
My jars are all repurposed (jam, pickle, peanut butter) my dishcloths are all upcycled (t-shirts, towels) and my kitchen towels are all mismatched and variously stained. The cutlery I take out with me if the same stuff I take camping and I have one stainless steel water bottle for daily use.
So for those thinking that reduced waste comes with all kinds of requirements and hefty price tag, take comfort in knowing that you can just stop buying stuff and achieve the same goal. I guarantee you already have what you need to get by.
No mason jar required.